Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, June 8, 2015

Tyler Jay has had no trouble racking up the saves in a standout season. Now, the closer will look to save Illinois' historic season.

Jay, a likely first-round pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Monday night, will get a rare start in an elimination game vs. reigning national champ Vanderbilt on Monday afternoon.

The Illini, who lost Game 1 of the Champaign Super Regional best-of-three series on Saturday, must win Monday and Tuesday to avoid elimination.

Jay is no stranger to working extended innings, so he makes perfect sense in a win-or-go-home situation like this.

He just pitched four innings to close out Wright State on June 1 in the Champaign Regional final, and he came out of the bullpen to give Illinois six innings in a 15-inning victory April 25 at Penn State. In those 10 innings, Jay surrendered seven hits and one earned run (0.90 ERA), to go along with 12 strikeouts.

The one run, which came at Penn State, is the lone blemish against Jay since April 25.

Only one of Jay's 29 appearances was as a starter, though, and it came on February 15, when the left-hander twirled five scoreless innings and faced one over the minimum in a win at Lamar.

Jay and the Illini take on the Commodores at 4 p.m. ET Monday at Illinois Field.